BMW 3-series

As marketers, we are aware of the psychology of marketing and how buying decisions affect consumers differently. I’m thinking here specifically about the phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance or buyers’ remorse.

I know whereof I speak. I recently had to replace the old bag of nails I had been driving for the past 14 years. The old banger was followed by its own orchestra as I drove to the office. The suspension was shot and some new welding needed. The upshot of all this was that the car was not worth repairing and needed replacing.

After an online search using the specific criteria outlined by my partner (it should be economical to run and within a certain price budget) I kept coming back to one car that somehow found its way onto the list – but I don’t think exactly met the criteria.

To cut a long story short I ended up buying it, under the budget price. But it’s older than other cars we were looking at, with a bigger engine – and it's significantly more comfortable on the inside than my old car. Once I got it home I was wondering whether I had done the right thing. Is it going to cost too much to run? Is it reliable? Are there any hidden faults with it that were not picked up on the test drive?

In short, I was experiencing some buyer’s remorse. But having driven it a few more times I have justified the purchase to myself and I’m quite enjoying ownership. Now I just need to counter the ‘I think you should have shopped around for a better deal’ brigade.

There are several common triggers for buyer's remorse. The realisation that the purchase was unnecessary, a feeling that the buyer has overpaid for the item or poor after sales service are just a few.

But, you will be pleased to learn, there are ways to counter cognitive dissonance. Firstly, qualify your buyers and ensure that you are selling to the right people. Make sure they have both a need and the budget to make the purchase.

Don’t hide additional costs and confusing terms and conditions in the small print. Make sure your customers know exactly what it is that they are signing up for.

Do hammer home the benefits of your product or service. Marketing communications collateral should include a description of the issue the buyers are facing – their need. It should talk about a solution to the problem and list all the benefits of your product. Then use 'social proof' such as reviews and testimonials to reinforce the positive message.

Have clear calls to action but reinforce them with repetition of the benefits or your unique selling points. This ensures that the customer is not confused by information overload and can connect with the truly important points in the offer.

Make sure you are accessible during and after the sale. It is vital to maintain a positive relationship with customers throughout the process. Keep the information flowing so that they have everything they need to make the decision to buy. This point is most important for high-value purchases.

Remaining accessible and keeping the lines of communication open after the purchase gives the customer added confidence. These details have a “wow” factor and provide an additional reinforcement as to why the decision to buy was a good one.

Finally, don’t forget the advice to under promise and over deliver. Pleasant surprises will help you win the battle against buyer’s remorse. If you over-hype your offering you risk leaving your customer feeling foolish. This is not the way to win repeat business. Buyers are likely to return the product, ask for their money back and give you poor feedback which will dent your reputation.

Contact OlsenMetrix Marketing today for marcomms solutions that will not over-hype your business. We will reinforce the benefits and help to remove buyers’ remorse from the mix to ensure that all your customers are satisfied ones.